You can’t hate ladybugs, they’re so cute! They’re the kittens of the insect world!
In Barbie in Princess Power we have the latest of Mattel’s straight-to-video releases. Barbie (Kelly Sheridan) stars as Kara, a down-to-earth princess who desperately wants to contribute something important to her kingdom aside from merely a royal wave at the right time. While her plans initially consist of a community garden as a way to get the people of her kingdom outside interacting, things take a turn when Kara is kissed by a butterfly she saves from being swatted.
Yes, you read that right, she’s kissed by a butterfly.
And being kissed by that butterfly imbues her with super hero powers. Now with the help of her two tech-savvy best friends Kara transforms into Super Sparkle, her kingdom’s newest and only superhero. And suddenly that’s all that consumes Kara’s life, being Super Sparkle and everything that entails. She starts to get hung up on taking the credit for what she’s doing, as well as the fame that goes along with it.
But of course Kara’s secret can’t remain a secret for too long and it looks like her cousin Corrine (Britt Irvin) is going to spill the beans when she catches Kara mid-transformation. Instead Corinne captures the butterfly and transforms herself into Dark Sparkle. However with this being a Barbie movie Dark Sparkle doesn’t become her nemesis but instead wants to be a superhero in her own right. But Kara isn’t too keen on sharing the spotlight and so the girls compete, going after the same rescue situations.
But a nemesis arises after all…the man who originally developed the formula which mutated the butterfly, Baron Von Ravendale (Michael Kopsa). He has steadily been working on creating another version of the formula but this one is going to be twice as powerful. So you can see where this ends up going but it does take a bit to get there, allowing Kara to try and solve the problem of a villain with twice as much power on her own before coming to the conclusion two heads are indeed better than one.
One of the biggest lessons of Barbie in Princess Power is about swallowing your pride and admitting when you’re wrong. It’s rare for a kids’ movie to have that be one of the most prominent messages to learn. There’re plenty of girl-empowering messages as well and the decision to include females who are smart and scientifically aware is a smart one. They don’t talk down to the audience but rather speak as you expect rocket designers would. Overall the film takes the current fascination with superheroes and balances it with many of the social media platforms in use today to create a more down-to-earth world than expected. It’s a nice break from the tales told in complete fantasy worlds and makes it easier to offer a recommendation.
Being a Blu-ray disc means you can expect pretty top-notch technical specs. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio is a bit different from the traditional 2.40:1 ratio most video transfers boast on a Blu-ray but nothing is distorted. The palette is dominated by pink, as you would expect, with incredibly strong colors. The audio is really where the disc shines, offering eight separate tracks, all of which are at least DTS Digital Surround 5.1 with the exception of the English language track which is a DTS-HD Master Audio offering. The sound is as well executed as you can hope for, especially in an animated film.
Special features are plentiful and include UltraViolet as well as DVD copies of the film, an episode of the web series “Barbie: Life in the Dream House,” outtakes, and music videos.